Veterans day is Monday.I have always felt all Veterans who work,should receive Veterans
day as a paid holiday. It was always funny to me my kids got the day off from school,and I had to work.
I know thousands read "The Daily Kos".I may have 5 or 6 readers,but I keep trying.Thanks
to one of you, a Veteran with serous Dental problems,was seen and his mouth is full of infections.When an infection goes into your blood stream, your loved ones need to plan your funeral.
He is stable for the moment, and the Dental folks will repair his mouth at 40% off their charge.I am going to let you read his story and the dental bill I need to help him.Yes I am asking for a dollar or two to be sent to the Dentist. Sometimes It takes a little money from many people to help their brother in need.I live in Seattle and can assure you we will beat any other city in the nation when it comes to giving.Prove me wrong.
We hear scary stuff about "Red state" Florida up here. The Vet I am trying to help.lives in your state.Below are the facts:
Hello Ms. Smithenry, here is the letter that my wife sent Michael Fitzjohn last Monday. Also, I have attached a copy of a picture collage of my teeth and a picture of my wife and I.
's Service Connected appeal was in process, but when we told him of the situation with my Husband's teeth, he agreed that it was service connected and they should take care of it. We were later told that he does have a Service Connected Injury but is ZERO rating. We are now having to re-file it even though I appealed it years ago. But they have conveniently lost our appeal!!!!!!!!!!!! I know without a shadow of doubt that we DID file an appeal and we were just waiting for it to be heard. Now I hear that it was never appealed and it has to be re-opened instead. Mr. Dale admitted that he had seen many cases where a Vet has had their teeth erode or simply fall out because of all the pain medications that the vet was being prescribed. My husband had to take several pain medications for years after he had two very very severe surgeries on his spinal cord. Yes, I did say “spinal cord”.
Let me back up a little. My Husband “Frank Marx” served honorably in the Army in the early 80s. His MOS was Multichannel Communications Equipment Operator (31M). My husband fell down a set of stairs while he was carrying a cable reel on his shoulder. The stairs had become iced over due to it snowing. He fell down a set of around five to six stairs. He bounced down the stairs on his tailbone which caused him immediate severe pain in his neck, back and tailbone. He went to the infirmary. They checked him out and gave him some pain medications, put him on light duty and sent him on his way. He bounced down the stairs on his coccyx and hurt him so badly he was always in severe pain even after he got out of the Army. He went to several doctors but they never seemed to find out what was wrong with him. Finally, a doctor in Atlanta found some problems which lead us to a specialized surgeon at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas. They performed a Laminectomy at which time they noticed his coccyx was “hanging barely attached” so they had to remove it. He was (as we were told before) put on a great deal of pain medications for quite some time. We went through weeks and weeks of rehabilitation just to arrive back home and the doctor's accidentally gave him Methadone which made him vomit profusely. Because of this, he blew out the surgical site. We were back on a plane the next day to have the surgery done once again. This surgery was more extreme, he almost died, had to have a donor spinal cord (donor dura),developed Meningitis which has caused post surgical problems. He has optic nerve damage, and nerve damage in his legs to which the neurologist has said he will never get any better. His condition will only worsen. He has nerve damage that controls his bowel movements. They also think a nerve was damaged during his surgeries that controls his appetite.
I told you all the above to get to the issue of my husband's teeth. All of the pain medications he was put on and due to the long duration that he had to take the pain medications has caused his teeth to either erode or simply fall out. One of his only nine teeth broke off a few days ago. The remaining tooth is jagged and VERY sharp which causes him SEVERE pain. But none seems to care!!!!! The only thing I was told and keep being told is that it isn't service connected. They basically told us TOO BAD SO SAD. They couldn't careless!!! I tried to make an appointment with the Dental clinic at the Veteran's Administration in Daytona Beach, Florida. They called me and just repeated that they couldn't make an appointment unless it was service connected. I was following what Mr. Dale at the Veteran's Administration at the County office instructed us to do. We are both on a fixed income and don't have the extra money to go out and pay a dentist out of pocket. We both are disabled and are collecting Social Security Disability. We take home way less than $2000.00 a month. As a nurse of 18 years (retired due to Lupus), I am appalled that this is happening because the Veteran's Administration could have used a Secondary Diagnoses Code to file because of the medication basically causing what is know better as “Meth Mouth”. If you have never seen what Meth Mouth looks like, go to this website: Now my Husband is so terribly suffering. Also, the Veteran's Administration is aware of my husband's other problems from the surgeries of him not having a good appetite, but on top of all of that, NOW, he can't eat. He only weighed in at 94.1 lbs. from his last visit with his doctor and I know he has had to have lost more weight since then because of the serious pain he is in from this last tooth breaking off and then on top of that not having any teeth to chew with!
How can anyone especially our Veteran's Administration just ignore this problem and say that it has nothing to do with service connection? He walked around for years with his tailbone that was dangling, in severe pain and learned to live with it till it was discovered. By having to remove it, the pain is always there to this day and he lives with taking a Suboxone everyday for the rest of his life and all of the post disabilities that have been placed upon him from the surgery.
I “WILL NOT” let this matter rest because my Husband is dying right in front of my eyes!!!!! How would you like to sit and watch your spouse die ever so slowly in front of your eyes and eyes of your children?
Does it take a Veteran Dying for someone out there to open there eyes and give a little help here? I know you have your rules to follow but if you will actually READ what I have written and follow “BACK” to where all of this originated (his fall), then you will see that it is service connected.
I am forwarding this to my Representative, and Congressman to see what help we can get and I will go to all extents to save my Husband's life!!!!!!!! I am writing you this letter and am begging you for help!!! My husband is dying and I don't know what to do about it!!!!
He served his Country and even when he was hurt he followed instructions and went back to work, the least you can do is Honor his service and do the right thing! If it were “YOUR” Husband or Wife, would you sit back while He or She couldn't even eat and watch them starve to death or have to have a peg put in to tube feed them when this matter could and SHOULD be taken care of? I just don't know what to do anymore! Please have a heart and someone HELP ME!
I don't think that my husband's issue with his teeth have ever been added as a service connected injury and I need someone who can help us do that.
If his dental work is not related to his other Service Connected Injuries, we badly need this addressed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please email me and I will email you some pictures that I took of my teeth to show you how horrible they are!
THIS IS AN EMAIL THAT MY HUSBAND SENT REGARDING HIS SERVICE CONNECTED INJURY, ABOUT HIS TEETH AND OTHER ISSUES THAT HE HAS REGARDING THE VA
My name is Frank Marx. I am a Veteran. I was honorably discharged after serving in the Army in the early 80s. My MOS was “Multichannel Communications Equipment Operator” (31M). I was stationed at Ft. Carson Colorado.
While stationed at Ft. Carson, I was caring a coax cable that weighed probably 75-80 pounds on my shoulder. I stepped outside to walk down a set of stairs. Unbeknownst to me, it had just snowed outside. I stepped outside and promptly slipped and fell down the stairs because there was over a foot of snow and ice everywhere. I immediately had severe pain in my back, neck and tailbone. I told my Platoon leader that I had injuries myself. He advised me to go to the informatory to be seen by a doctor. They gave me some pain medications and put me on light duty for a couple days. I doubt that any of this was put in my permanent file with the Army. I certainly hope it can be found! Ever since I fell, I have had HORRIBLE back and neck pain.
I had two Laminectomies in 2006 and 2007. During the second surgery in 2007, the doctor saw that my tailbone was "dangling" as he put it so he removed it. I have had serious pain in my neck, back and tailbone ever since I fell down the stairs. I don't think I even passed my PT tests after I fell. I do remember falling out of several, if not all, of our morning PT. I also suffered from Meningitis after the second surgery in 2007 which caused me to lose most of my short and long-term memory. Because of all of this, I have been disabled and on Social Security Disability since 2007. I was not in the Veteran's Administration healthcare system until AFTER these surgeries. There is absolutely NO doubt that the injuries that I sustained while in the Army is the reasons for all of my neck, back and tailbone pain.
In addition, I recently had a hearing test and was given two hearing aids because my hearing is horrid. My hearing loss was because I used very very loud 3-K Generators when I was in the Army. I was recently given a set of hearing aids to assist with my hearing.
One reason I am emailing you is to see if you could help me with getting my injuries to my neck, back and tailbone and also my hearing loss be identified as "service connected". Everyone including my doctor can't seem to be able to help me with this or Want to help me :(
I am also contacting you about a second matter that definitely needs to be addressed with the Powers-that-be in the VA system.
Because of the injuries and my surgeries, breaking of my tailbone and other maladies, I was prescribed a lot of pain medications in the past.
This is a list of the current medications I am taking:
Suboxone 2 mg SL ½ under tongue
Seroquel 400mg Q @ HS
Neurontin 600mg 2 tabs am and 3 tabs pm
Claritin 1 tab QD
Docusate NA 100mg Q @ HS
Prilosec 20mg BID
Flomax 0.4mg QD
Pravastatin 20mg QD
Benedryl 50mg Q @ HS
Topril 50mg QD
ALERGIES: Methadone, Zoloft and Kelflex
Because of this, the majority of my teeth have either broken off to the gum line and/or are cracked or worn down to the extent that I have only a few teeth to chew my food with. Why is this not a concern with the Veteran's Administration? Dr. Sharon Colvin who is with the Veteran's Administration in Albany, Georgia in January 2013 she said that my teeth were in a decayed manner because of the enormous amounts of pain medications that were prescribed me years ago and also during and after my Laminectomies. She said that there should be a secondary ICD-9 Code available in order for me to go to Dental to have my teeth and mouth repaired. She also stated that this was interfering with my ability to eat when I do finally do get hungry. My Laminectomies that were necessary also found my broken tailbone. Had I not had such horrible pain with my tailbone, I wouldn't have been prescribed so many pain medications. I have spoken to the local dental office within the VA here in Daytona Beach, Florida but they told me that I cannot be seen by them because I am not on active duty and that the reason for my teeth have not been identified as secondary injuries so I could be seen. What else can I do so that I can be seen by a dentist in the Veteran's Administration? I can not in anyway afford to be seen by a dentist down here because I take home less than $2000.00 a month. My wife and I both are disabled!
A third reason I am contacting you is that I went before the prosthetic board to be able to get the VA to give me a power wheelchair that I NEED BADLY but they basically told me that if I had three of four limbs that didn't work, I would not be able to get a power wheelchair. I believe they were wrong and didn't read all my medical records because I cannot walk for more than ten minutes, stand for more than ten minutes or sit for more than around 15 minutes. I spend the majority of my life laying in bed watching TV. It even hurts me to go out in our living room and sit in our recliner. It's depressing how unable I am to get around. I live 5 minutes from the beach but my wife and I can never go there because I can't sit for very long before I am in horrible pain. My life consists of going to either my wife's many doctor appointments and going to my doctor appointments. The rest of the time, I'm laying in bed! I actually am having a friend of mine type this up as I lay here in my bed because I could not in anyway sit in front of my computer and type this letter to you! Actually, I am having a friend of mine send you this email as I cannot afford to get the internet where I live. I can't afford cable TV or satellite TV. Thank God, I have a free government cell phone. We can't afford to pay for a landline phone where we live. For a matter of fact, my wife and I are trying to get food stamps because we can't even afford to buy any groceries!
This is what Mr. Gary Coats told me in an email about my denial of the power wheelchair:
Hi Mr. Marx, the Major Medical Committee never received your appeal, however if you sent an appeal, most appeals go to the Atlanta Regional office. Below is the doctors note concerning your power wheelchair request. As stated in the doctors note The VA has guidelines to follow, and for a veteran to be eligible for power mobility there are 3 different requirements (please see attachment), they are a) heart beat rate below 30%, b) 24 hour use of oxygen, and c) loss of use of 3 extremities, i.e. two arms and one leg, or two legs and one arm. See doctors note below concerning your case. If you choose to appeal this decision you will need to see a VA Georgia State Rep to file an appeal. The VA Georgia State Rep will file your appeal and keep track of the appeal process. Thanks for your inquiry. Gary Coates, Chief of Prosthetics.
LOCAL TITLE: CONSULTS - PM&RS
STANDARD TITLE: PHYSICAL MEDICINE REHAB CONSULT
DATE OF NOTE: SEP 29, 2011@13:03 ENTRY DATE: SEP 29, 2011@13:03:34
AUTHOR: PENNY,KAREN J EXP COSIGNER: SINGH,VINEETA
URGENCY: STATUS: COMPLETED
REASON FOR REQUEST:THIS IS A REFERRAL FROM MS PATTON ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR 47 Y/O WM WITH A DX OF LBP WITH H/O LUMBAR LAMINECTOMIES, CAD/ASHD, EF-60%, A-FIB, OSTEOARTHRITIS, AND H/O EASTERN EQUINE ENCHEPHALITIS (07) AMBULATES INDEPENDENTLY WITH A CANE TO THE MAJOR MEDICAL COMMITTEE ACCOMPANIED BY HIS WIFE. THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT ARE DR SINGH, MS PHILLIPS, MR COATES, AND MS PENNY. MR MARX IS REQUESTING AN ELECTRIC W/C STATING THAT HE IS UNABLE TO WALK LONG DISTANCES SECONDARY TO BACK PAIN. MR MARX IS ABLE TO TRANSFER INDEPENDENTLY AND AMBULATES INDEPENDENTLY WITH A CANE; STATES HE IS ABLE AMBULATE APPROX 100FT BEFORE HAVING TO STOP DUE TO PAIN. PT DOES HAVE A ROLLATOR BUT DOES NOT LIKE TO UTILIZE AS THE SEAT IS TOO HARD AND IT IS PAINFUL TO SIT ON. AT THIS TIME, MR MARX DOES NOT MEET THE CRITERIA FOR ISSUANCE OF POWER MOBILITY. HE DOES NOT UTILIZE OXYGEN, HE DOES NOT HAVE AN EF<30%, AND HE DOES NOT HAVE THE LOSS OF USE OF 3 OR MORE EXTREMITIES. MR MARX WAS OFFERRED A MANUAL W/C AND HE REQUESTS A SMALL, LIGHTWT MODEL. HE WILL BE PROVIDED WITH A 16 X 18 MANUAL W/C, DESK LENGTH ARMRESTS, SWING AWAY LEGRESTS, ANTI-TIPPERS, AND A 16 X 18 FLOVAIR CUSHION. MR MARX WILL ALSO BE PROVIDED WITH A MODULAR RAMP FOR ACCESS INTO THE HOME. PROSTHETIC REQUEST INITIATED.
The last reason I am contacting you is this:
My wife recently had surgery on her foot so she can't drive so I am stuck driving. When I drive, I have to leave several hours in advance of my doctors appointment because I have to drive ten to fifteen minutes, stop the car, get out and stretch, then after another ten to fifteen minutes, do the same over and over again. I usually lay in the back of our van with my wife driving but I have to drive now because she has a brace on her foot and will have it for over a month. Is that anyway to live? Sitting in the back of our Van letting my wife drive me around? I hate this!!!!! I'd love it if the Veteran's Administration could pay for some kind of padded chair or even “captain's chair” for our Van so I can drive it without having to pull over and stretch for more than ten minutes at a time.
If you can't help me, I would GREATLY appreciate if if you would forward this email to someone whom you think might be able to!!!! Thank you VERY VERY much!!
My wife recently moved from Moultrie, Georgia to Ormond Beach, Florida. Before we moved, the majority of my Veteran's Administration healthcare was with the small Veteran's Administration clinic in Albany, Georgia. Now that we are living down here, I am being seen by doctors here in Daytona, Florida.
I am writing you asking you for help for these very serious matters:
1. Having my injuries that I sustained while serving in the Army be identified as “Service Connected”;
2. Having my teeth seen by a dentist in the VA;
3. Getting a Power Wheelchair; and
4. Chair for our Van
If you have access to </30> feel free to send me an email.
695-A Flaming Drive
Ormond Beach, Florida 32176
THIS IS THE END OF HIS EMAIL
If you can't help me and my husband, I would GREATLY appreciate if if you would forward this email to someone whom you think might be able to!!!!
Thank you VERY VERY much!!
695-A Flaming Drive
Ormond Beach, Florida 32176
My husband and I are both disabled. We are on SSD. We take home less than $1900.00 a month. The VA helps my husband with his healthcare but my healthcare isn’t. We have to pay hundreds of dollars a month for my co-pays and we pay over $100.00 for my medications. I have to have surgery on my shoulder, both knees and my hip but we can’t afford to pay for, them A description... I’m sorry, I have been venting lol. Our story is very sad but we have God in our lives and on our sides so what ever happensfor a reason. We just got on Food stamps which will help us a little with our groceries. Our rent is $800.00. Our power bill is between $150.00 – $175.00 a month. We pay over $100.00 in gas going to and from all our doctor’s appointments. Our phone bill is between $50.00 to $75.00 a month. We don't have Cable because we can't afford it. You can see how our $1900.00 goes.'
I could write more, but you see what he is up against. He need"s $5,800.The money needs to go to: Heartland Dental Care Group, attn,KatieSmithenry. Her phone is 217-540-5609,her fax is 866-300-3208.
That will pay the bills for Frank Marx and leave a few hundred dollars for another Veteran who may need help. She has expressed an interest in starting a
program at ALL their dental clincs across the country to provide reduced cost Dental Care for Veterans. If I raise enough, she will lower the cost per Veteran.
Lets fix one Veteran at a time.